Frequently Asked Questions

Send us your questions – we will post the answers.

Q:  I teach in a junior high school, and I have some 7th and 8th grade students who would find this very exciting.  Can they submit stories?
A:  Although the contest was originally envisioned as being suitable for upper level students, there is really no lower age limit.  Your students should know that there is only one category – but creativity does not necessarily increase with age! All students are welcome to submit a story.

Q:  I am a home-schooled student.  Can I enter?
A:  Absolutely; There is no requirement to be affiliated with a particular school, and the contest is open to all private, parochial and public as well as home-schooled students. 

Q:  This is very interesting, but there is little time for me to incorporate this into my lesson plans for the year.
A:  This year is the first year for the national contest, and we realize that there is not enough time for as many people to participate as might like to.  However, we plan on improving and expanding the program next year with this experience; please take advantage of this trial run in your teaching this year, and think how you might incorporate it into your plans for next year.

Q:  I was wondering if it could be just any old science fiction story, or if had to be about a futuristic energy?

A:  It is supposed to be a story that is not about futuristic energy, but that has something to do with how our energy use has affected the world.  For example, suppose you were living on Cape Cod, and because of global warming and rising water levels you had to leave your home.

Or, suppose the U.S. kept buying oil from other countries and the price of oil kept increasing until people wouldn’t lend us money anymore (see the IMF report issued in early April 2006).

Or, suppose that weather patterns kept getting more and more unpredictable, and you were a farmer.

Or, suppose that you convinced the government to require a carbon tax, and people didn’t want to drive so much anymore, so they moved out of the towns and back into the cities or into small villages and worked and lived in the same place.

Or, suppose that the weather became more and more unpredictable, and a whole lot of people thought that this was an apocalypse and started a big religious movement (such as in the Middle Ages). 

Or, suppose you were in Greenland when the last glacier melted.

Or, suppose that you couldn’t get a permit to drive a car because carbon emissions were controlled and people were only allowed to drive for emergencies.

Or, suppose that all of the other countries got mad at us because we wouldn’t sign Kyoto and we wouldn’t reduce our emissions, and so they put an embargo on us. 

Or, suppose you were running a business and no one ever traveled anymore because it would violate the carbon allowance.

Or, suppose everyone started to grow their own food because it was too expensive to transport.

Or, suppose you lived in a house that was very energy efficient and it was very quiet all of the time, and you had solar panels on your roof, and the electric company was taking down the big power line structure because most electricity was generated locally. 

Or, suppose that you invented a kind of bicycle that was extremely comfortable and had some sort of cover to keep the rain off of people so that everyone started using it, even for commuting, and you made a lot of money and went to live anywhere you wanted.

In Short, It can be about almost anything – I am sure that you have much better ideas than I do – but there has to be some connection to energy use or policy.

46 Washington Street, Box 874, Ayer, MA, 01432 . 978.391.4479